Rinoa is in the library when Cid suddenly makes a major announcement: once the Garden is repaired, they are to leave FH and go on a journey to defeat Edea. Moreover, Squall will now be in command of Garden.
Selphie is somewhat cheered up by the repairs done to the stage and has everyone gathered to prepare a concert for Squall's promotion. Rinoa is enthusiastic about having fun in Garden for once but Selphie tells Rinoa that she won't be performing during the concert. Before Rinoa begins to feel left out, they explain that Rinoa's job is to get Squall to the concert and keep him from leaving.
Squall is tired but unable to sleep. Feeling bored, he leaves his dorm just in time for Rinoa (in her dress) to find him. Rinoa stops him and tells him to come to the concert, and as everyone predicted, he eventually gives in. She tries to be understanding about him not being in the mood and continues doing her best to finally get him to unwind. She also says she had to talk to him about something.
When they get to FH, Rinoa notices Irvine trying to make his move on Selphie. Selphie leaves too soon and Rinoa laughs at his missed chance. Just as the band starts playing, Rinoa and Squall reach the spot Irvine saved for them. They sit down as Squall finds a naughty magazine. Rinoa finds this amusing but Squall sure doesn't. Changing the subject, Squall asks what Rinoa had to talk about.
Rinoa says that they wanted to comfort and reassure him about his promotion. Everyone agreed to tell him that he shouldn't try to do everything on his own. Just as she says it, Squall begins thinking. Rinoa points out how everyone knows him too well, including herself, and that when he thinks too much he tends to frown with his head in his hands. She mimics Squall as he does so and he swipes at her with his hand to make her stop. Dodging his attack, Rinoa somersaults back and laughs at him. Squall doesn't find this amusing, though. Before Squall even thinks of escaping the concert, Rinoa pushes him off his seat.
Squall is angry at what she did but still doesn't say anything. Rinoa tries to coax him into letting out his emotions or talk but still, he's completely silent and deep in thought for what she thinks is a very long time. Fully aware of her affect on him, Rinoa starts strutting around Squall, making sure to keep her eyes on him for reactions. She charms him using compliments and teases him by saying she knows what he's really like, trying to get him to say something in response.
Depending on the music that's being played, Squall will either open up to Rinoa a little or lie to her and make her leave.
Expecting Squall to evade the subject yet again, Rinoa immediately puts an open hand in front of his face, stopping him from talking. She wants him to think about how this may be one of the last times they are together and to enjoy the moment. Surprised by how pessimistic he still is, she tells him that the future has no guarantees. She tells him to focus on the present and focus on experiencing life together.
After reminding him of everyone's offer to help whenever he needs it, she asks what his dreams are and what he plans to do in life. They realize they both have no real plans and would rather not talk about it. Still, Rinoa has no problems staying as she is for now.
Now that Balamb Garden is fixed and mobile once again, Nida announces their departure and hands the microphone to Squall. Rinoa laughs to herself in the library as Squall refuses to give a speech and yells at Nida to turn it off.
They decide to return to Balamb town for many reasons. As expected, in their absence Galbadia Garden has taken control of the town in their search for Ellone (under Edea's command). Zell is outraged, as this is his hometown. When they finally sneak into Balamb, they find everyone scared and on edge.
Unable to enter the Hotel, Zell allows everyone into his room. Rinoa notices a large painting prominently placed and asks if it's Zell's grandfather. Zell says it is and explains how he looks up to his grandfather. His grandfather played a big commanding role in the Witch War. According to Zell, he was great with strategy and full of composure. Squall comments on how that's the opposite of Zell and Rinoa can't help but laugh at Squall's remark.
Making it clear that she wasn't laughing only at Zell, Rinoa tells Squall straight out that he's acting "too cool" towards his friend, even though it's probably not her place to say. Squall finds himself unable to answer and Zell tells him to show more passion towards life, like him.
After much investigation, the party finds the 'Commander' and 'Captain' who were in charge of the rather haphazard search through Balamb town. They turn out to be Raijin and Fujin. Once defeated, Raijin and Fujin explain that they were not working under the Witch's orders. They were actually following Seifer because they are his only friends. Surprisingly, Squall says that he understands and that if they meet later on, the SeeDs won't hold back in their fighting.
Rinoa wonders why Squall lets them go and feels sad that in the future they might have to kill Seifer's friends. Squall then says that it's how they were raised. Whether friend or foe, it all comes down to circumstance in Garden.
Once Galbadia is cleared out from Balamb, Selphie requests that Balamb Garden goes towards Trabia Garden. When they arrive, they find the campus completely destroyed. Still, the students are trying to move on with their lives, forget what happened and rebuild what they have. Rinoa feels that Selphie must have wanted to come sooner and while she takes in the devastation around her, she begins to solemnly think about what they're doing and the horrible repercussions of war. Selphie leaves to spend some time with her friends and says that when she's done, she will meet them at the basketball court.
The basketball court, too, is ruined but it doesn't stop students from trying to play on it. Everyone finds a spot to get comfortable in while waiting for Selphie. Rinoa sits on the pavement and leans back on a fence, far from everyone else as she doesn't feel like she truly belongs with them. Rinoa has been thinking a lot lately, especially ever since she met everyone but she can't figure out what they should do.
Selphie finally arrives and announces that she wants to fight the Witch with everyone and get revenge. Rinoa somewhat ruins Selphie's good mood and asks if there's another way to go about this, without fighting and more bloodshed. She drags her boot along the floor, making shapes with it and sighs. She's nervous about their possible reactions. Everyone is puzzled by Rinoa's change of heart but Rinoa goes on to explain that she hopes someone, perhaps Squall, could come up with a way.
Noticing that Squall was staring at her, Rinoa asks what's on his mind. Out of everyone, he was the most surprised. Squall asks Rinoa what happened to her. He remembers her as someone ready to fight for what she believes in but now she is saying that they should hold back and find another way to avoid more fighting.
Holding her chain and ring, Rinoa admits to being scared and not feeling like she's at everyone's tempo when it comes to battle. While they can easily rush into battle without fear, fear holds her back and makes her worry that maybe not everyone will make it. She feels left behind. Thankfully, Irvine understands. He says it's difficult to live this kind of life worrying that someone you love might disappear, yet this same reason is why he fights.
Irvine goes on to share his memories of someone who was special to him, in his childhood. Everyone there, except for Rinoa, immediately knows who he is talking about. Recognizing the locations and the children he describes, they realize that they all grew up together at an orphanage along with Seifer. They had somehow forgotten their long term memories because of their GF use. Other armed forces don't GFs for that same reason, yet Garden used it while claiming the memory loss was only a rumor.
Irvine, who didn't use GFs very much, reveals that Witch Edea is Matron Edea, the woman who raised them all at that same orphanage. Despite finding out that Edea is their beloved Matron, she is now their enemy and they decide to fight her, staying true to SeeD's original purpose. They also decide they have no choice but to continue using GFs, as it is what gives them the strength they need.
Turning to Rinoa, Squall tells her that what she does is her own decision. They will be fighting Edea so that they can finally move on with life instead of running away from their problems. He then invites her to join them, as he's sure it's what everyone wants, especially himself. Before she can answer, snow begins to fall and Selphie calls it 'a gift from the faeries'. Everyone then leaves Rinoa and Squall alone. According to people from Trabia, when the snow falls gently like this, something special happens on that day.
With Squall's request, Rinoa finally feels like she's a part of their group. She tells Squall her decision is to fight along with them. She then says that they're fearless, going into such a battle. However, Squall makes a confession... he actually wishes they didn't have to fight, too.
Back in Balamb Garden, Selphie asks Rinoa to enter a message in the Friends section of the Garden Festival page, found in the Balamb Garden online network. Feeling at home in Garden, Rinoa leaves a message. Her entry is actually about her hidden feelings towards the situation that's going on. How circumstances change and how people can become enemies before they've even grown up.
Garden Festival Friends: Rinoa
Hi, my name is Rinoa. I'm not a student at Garden, but I'll be staying here for a while. I really like it here.
Um...there's something I wanted to say. When you make friends, it'd be nice to be able to finish growing up together, without having to think we'll be separated. Even if we do grow up apart, I want to be able to meet up and talk with a smile. Hmm? What am I trying to say?
Anyway, I don't think I've ever been in a setting with so many people about my age. It's kinda like camp. It's fun! I'm really glad I'm here.
(Selphie: Camp? Heeey, maybe it is kinda like camp!)
Rinoa also visits the cafeteria where she meets Zell. After some idle conversation, Rinoa asks him about Squall's ring. Rinoa wants one just like it because she thinks it looks cool. Zell doesn't know where Squall got it but offers to make her one because he's pretty good at making stuff like that.
Rinoa gets excited about this and accepts his offer. Actually, she's a little more excited about having a ring that's obviously like Squall's, not just because it looks cool. Zell then says he needs to see Squall's in order to do it, expecting Rinoa to get it. Rinoa puts her hands behind her back and starts dragging her foot across the floor, saying it's embarrassing for her to ask Squall. It would become very obvious that she's interested in him. Zell picks up on her interest but Rinoa waves her hand at his face and shakes her head denying it. She immediately turns around with her hands behind her back, saying that she and Squall are not like that.